Let's go through the constitutional analysis briefly again. The First Amendment includes two religion clauses: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (the establishment clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (the free exercise clause)." These so-called church-state separation cases usually involve the establishment clause, which has been so expanded by the courts over the years as to be nearly unrecognizable in some cases.
According to many courts, the state doesn't have to establish a national church to run afoul of the establishment clause. It only has to be deemed to have endorsed (or even slightly favored) a particular religion -- as you can see from the court's language above. This is absurd, but it's nevertheless the position many courts are purporting to edict.
Our judiciary has become so obsessed with preventing any hint of a nod toward Christianity (it doesn't exhibit similar concerns about favoritism toward other religions or faith-based secular themes) that it has thwarted the driving purpose of the establishment clause.
You see, the ultimate purpose of the establishment clause, just as it was with the free exercise clause, was to promote religious liberty. The Framers knew that if there were a national church, there would be substantially less religious liberty. But under the ludicrously expansive interpretations of this clause, the courts are diminishing religious liberty in the name of protecting it.
If, for example, a high-school administration forbids a valedictorian from referring to her faith in Christ during her valedictory address under the convoluted reasoning that a single student's voluntarily expressing her faith somehow constitutes an endorsement by the school administration -- and thus the state -- it is prohibiting her freedom of religious expression and her free exercise rights. But given the dominance of secular forces in our culture, such concerns don't even occur to the courts.
It would be ridiculous enough for a court to hold that a permissive display on a public road of a cross erected and maintained by a private group with the express purpose of proselytizing constituted an impermissible state endorsement of the Christian religion. But it's insultingly offensive for this court to hold that such a permissive display of a cross whose primary purpose is to honor the fallen -- not to endorse Christianity -- is unconstitutional.
And don't tell me the court is erring on the side of caution here. No, its ruling is affirmatively hurting people and violating their real rights in the name of rights that don't exist, and it's shameful and unacceptable.
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